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Much Abrew: Traxos's Unsealing (Standard)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, our Standard option Traxos's Unsealing took home the title of most popular, so we're heading to Standard this week to see if playing some big, janky artifacts to trigger Sarkhan's Unsealing is a legitimate strategy in the format. The idea of the deck is pretty simple: we play a bunch of cheap artifacts, hopefully stick a Sarkhan's Unsealing on Turn 4, and then spend the rest of the game playing Traxos, Scourge of Kroog, Barricade Breaker, and Metalwork Colossus to repeatedly sweep our opponent's board while also throwing some damage at their face. Then, we attack with our huge creatures and (hopefully) win! Can the combo of Traxos, Scourge of Kroog and Sarkhan's Unsealing form the foundation of a competitive (and budget-friendly) deck in Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Sarkhan's Unsealing (Standard)

 

The Deck

  • That was rough. While we played a ton of three-game matches, making it feel like we were close to getting some wins, Traxos's Unsealing couldn't make it across the finish line to find a single victory in our video matches. The full picture is even worse. I played a league, went 0-4 drop, decided to try the deck again, played another league, and went 0-5 drop. I'm pretty sure this has to be the worst record of any deck we've played on Much Abrew. While we've had some decks that didn't win a single game, we've never had a deck sustain a zero-win record over so many matches.
  • So, what went wrong with Traxos's Unsealing? Here are a few things:
  • First and most importantly, the deck is incredibly slow. While we have early-game plays, they are mostly just do-nothing artifacts that gain us life, fix our mana, or draw a card. This means that our first real play is often on Turn 4. Against control decks, they can just counter whatever we play, and against aggro, we're already dead. Even if everything goes to plan and there's no disruption, playing Sarkhan's Unsealing on Turn 4 and then something big on Turn 5 often isn't just game winning.
  • Second, Sarkhan's Unsealing is our only real removal spell, and it costs four mana to cast and then doesn't even do anything for another turn, at least. Combine this with the lack of many early blockers, and it's really easy to get run over by early-game creatures from the opponent. A Bomat Courier is almost guaranteed to draw our opponent four cards, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is an unblockable card-advantage engine, and a Turn 2 Steel Leaf Champion pretty much just kills.
  • Third, our deck really struggles if we don't happen to draw one of our four Sarkhan's Unsealing because our creatures are pretty bad without it. Traxos, Scourge of Kroog entering the battlefield tapped makes it hard to play defense right again, while Barricade Breaker tends to either chump-attack into Lyra Dawnbringer or be chumped by a small creature while our opponent swings back at us for lethal.
  • Fourth, Sarkhan's Unsealing itself was less good than I thought it would be. We had trouble with cards like The Scarab God and Lyra Dawnbringer, which survive the Flame Wave, and without any extra removal, we don't really have any ways at all to deal with those creatures. 
  • The end result is a deck that did some really explosive and sweet things in some games but wasn't nearly consistent or fast enough to win on a regular basis. We did manage to win at least one game in four of our five matches, and some of those wins were pretty amazing, but putting together win after win to post a solid record seems unlikely. 
  • While I'm not sure it's possible to really fix the deck, if you want to try, the place to start is with some removal and counters. Something like four Abrade (probably over Navigator's Compass, which provided a good reminder of how bad it is during our matches) and a couple of Metallic Rebuke would go a long way toward helping us live long enough to execute our game plan. 
  • So, should you play Traxos's Unsealing? I think the answer is pretty clearly no, even though the deck is budget friendly. Sarkhan's Unsealing can be a very powerful card in the right deck (especially as the top end of an aggro deck with some big, cheap creatures), and there might even be a build that can take advantage of Traxos, Scourge of Kroog, but the cards today doesn't seem to be a very good plan for Standard. While the changes we talked about (adding removal and counters) would probably improve the deck, I'm not sure it would be enough to make it good or even somewhat competitive. While the deck does cool things about 30% of the time, the other 70% is rough.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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